Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1943, Philip Lopate received a Bachelor's degree at Columbia University and a Doctorate at Union Graduate School.
His most recent book of poetry, At the End of the Day (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010) brings together the majority of his poems, most of which were written during his youth. In the preface to the collection, Lopate writes:
"Though I am known today mostly as an essayist, occasionally as a fiction writer, for about fifteen years I wrote poetry...When I look back at those years during which poetry formed such an important part of my identity, I am tempted to rub my eyes, as though recalling a time when I ran off and joined the circus."
His first book, The Eyes Don't Always Want to Stay Open (Sun Press 1972), was followed shortly thereafter by The Daily Round (1976).
He is also the author of numerous essay collections, including: Notes on Sontag (Princeton University Press, 2009), Portrait of My Body (1996), Against Joie de Vivre (1989), and Bachelorhood (1981). He has also written the novels, Two Marriages (2008), The Rug Merchant (1987), and Confessions of Summer (1979). Getting Personal (2003) gathers selected writings from both his prose and poetry.
Of his work, The poet Marie Ponsot writes:
The pleasures of Lopate’s poems are urban and urbane. He takes notice, he reports, he has a heart. And more: he stirs in us literature’s ungovernable alchemic hope, as his truth-saying transforms his anecdotes, and precipitates poems.
Among his many awards are grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Public Library, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Before holding the John Cranford Adams Chair at Hofstra University, Lopate taught at Fordham, the University of Houston, and New York University. Currently, he also finds time to teach at Columbia University, the New School, and Bennington.
He lives in New York City.